Liverpool take on Arsenal in the Community Shield, English football’s season-opener, as they look to add more silverware to their already rich trophy haul.
The Reds have won the Champions League, Club World Cup, Uefa Super Cup and ended their 30-year wait for the Premier League trophy under Jurgen Klopp and will look to continue the winning streak when they take on the Gunners at Wembley on Saturday.
Liverpool haven’t won the Community Shield since 2006, having lost to Manchester City last season. But it’s a trophy that Klopp wants to add this season.
“It’s not a friendly, it’s a proper match against Arsenal,” Klopp said ahead of the game.
Klopp’s thoughts were echoed by Jordan Henderson who has urged Liverpool to show their hunger to retain the Premier League title against Arsenal in the Community Shield on Saturday.
While their Premier League title defence doesn’t get underway until September 12, the Reds are keen to lay down an early marker to their title rivals.
Henderson knows FA Cup winners Arsenal will pose a good test for Liverpool’s desire to add more silverware after beating the champions 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium late last season.
Liverpool have been getting back to business at a training camp in Austria and England midfielder Henderson is pleased with the attitude he has seen from his team-mates so far.
“We’ve been cracking on, really working hard. New season, new start and a lot more things we want to go on and achieve,” Henderson told Liverpool’s website.
“I’m really excited to see what we can do this season, another big season for us. Hopefully, we can take confidence from the last year or two but we need to stay hungry and need to keep the desire to go and want more. I can certainly see that from the first days that I’ve watched training in pre-season.”
« You’ve just got to keep giving absolutely everything, you’ve got to keep working harder than you ever have before, staying hungry. »@JHenderson doesn’t intend to pause and reflect on our recent achievements for quite a while – for one very good reason ?
Having ended the club’s 30-year wait to win the English title, just a year after clinching the Champions League crown, it would be understandable if Henderson and company took their foot off the gas this term.
Klopp has yet to make any major new signings and they will face a renewed challenge from Manchester City, big-spending Chelsea and Manchester United’s emerging young side.
But Henderson, whose team finished 18 points ahead of second-placed City, has no doubts Liverpool will be up to the task of keeping their rivals at bay.
“You’ve got to look at the players in the squad and the manager as well, it’s always about looking forward and wanting more and improving,” he said. “Just to keep going and win as many trophies as we can because we’ve proven that over the last few years we’re a top team.
“Pre-season is no different. You’ve got to train so hard to be ready for the first game of the season, which for us comes against Arsenal in the Community Shield. We’ve got to be right at it come that first game and we’ve got another chance to win silverware. After that, the Premier League starts pretty quick after that as well, so you need to be ready.”
For Arsenal, the curtain-raiser to the new season offers Gunners boss Mikel Arteta an opportunity to gauge his side’s progress heading into his first full campaign in charge.
The Spaniard’s impressive work after arriving from Manchester City in December culminated in FA Cup glory against Chelsea, a success keyed by Arteta’s astute tactics and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.
Since that memorable victory, Aubameyang has kept Arsenal waiting as they try to persuade him to extend a contract that expires at the end of this season.
Arteta is confident Arsenal’s captain will commit his long-term future to the club, while Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi could be brought back from exile after being banished towards the end of last season.
Ozil and Guendouzi were frozen out over Arteta’s concerns about their commitment and attitude respectively. “I have been really clear that everybody starts from zero,” said the manager.
“All the time in football, what you did two weeks ago or two years ago doesn’t matter. It is what you are able to contribute to the team now so everybody is going to have the same opportunities. They have to show with their performance and attitude that they are better than their teammates or they are somehow contributing to what we want to achieve this season.”
The Reds and Gunners will face off at Wembley for the first time since the 1989 Community Shield final that Reds won 1-0.
Liverpool also have a superior head-to-head record against Arsenal in the Shield as they have won three out of their four encounters. Although their last meeting in 2002 was won by Arsenal.
Both Arsenal and Liverpool will aim to become the outright second-most successful team in the Community Shield with a win on Saturday. As of now both sides are locked at 15 triumphs each.
Touted as a glorified friendly, the Community Shield offers an early chance for teams to test themselves against a top team. However, a win in the Community Shield rarely guarantees title success in the Premier League.
In the last decade, only two Community Shield winners went on to win the Premier League title. Having said that, there’s little doubt that both Liverpool and Arsenal will go all out for some early silverware on Saturday.
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